Most political experts will say that the 2022 midterms are going to be bad for the Democrats. With slim majorities in the House and Senate, there’s very little cushion for them to sustain losses without losing power.
Chris Cillizza of CNN, to his credit, acknowledges that historical precedent suggests Democrats are going to have a bad year in 2022. “The first midterm election of a newly elected president is almost always bad news for their party in Congress. Republicans lost 40 seats in the House in 2018, while Democrats dropped 62 seats in 2010,” he explained. “In fact, the president’s party has lost, on average, nearly 28 House seats and more than three Senate seats in the 19 midterm elections between 1946 and 2018.”
But Cillizza wants Democrats to have hope despite all the factors working against them. Despite the epic disaster that has become of the Biden presidency, Cillizza cites one model by Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz that suggests “all is not lost for the Party — by a long shot.”
According to Abramowitz, “A model using the generic ballot and seat exposure shows that a single digit lead on the generic ballot would give Democrats a good chance to keep control of the Senate.” But Democrats will need a larger lead to keep control of the House, particularly because of redistricting.
In fact, in July 2019 (roughly the same time before the 2020 election as we are now from the 2022 midterms) Abramowitz predicted “Democratic gains of around five seats in the House and six seats in the Senate,” assuming the political climate remained relatively the same by the following summer. Of course, COVID happened, which changed the dynamic considerably, but let’s not forget that conventional wisdom in 2020 was that Democrats would gain seats in the House in 2020. In fact, in 2020, the RCP average for the generic ballot was a 6.8 point advantage for the Democrats, and their actual result was half that, and they still lost seats in the House.
It goes without saying that it’s really early to be making predictions, but the Democratic Party has history and their slim margins working heavily against them in 2022, which already points to a bad election night before you even take into account the disaster Biden is making of the country.
Few things that have occurred on Biden’s watch seem to make sense. Biden’s main governing strategy seems to be: “If Trump did it, reverse it,” even, it seems, peace in the Middle East.
Despite being handed an economy recovering from the pandemic, Biden has somehow managed to screw things up. Economic growth is not what it should be even though lifting COVID-19 regulations should be producing a boom. Biden took office with two vaccines with emergency use approval from the FDA, and a distribution program in place. Yet, as places begin opening up, a country once afflicted with huge job losses is now experiencing a labor shortage—and while the reason for this is obvious, if you ask Biden, he can’t explain why.
Prices have soared, and if you’ve filled up your gas tank recently then you know how much gas prices have gone up since Biden took office. The Biden presidency is feeling like an awful mashup of the Obama years and the Carter years.
Oh yeah, and then there’s that whole border crisis thing, which Kamala Harris has so callously laughed off.
In 2020, Democrats claimed it was time to put the adults back in charge, that Trump’s mean tweets were destroying our country, and yet, it’s hard not to look back on the Trump years and be nostalgic for the peace and prosperity they delivered.
Despite all the things working against Biden and the Democrats, that’s no reason to get cocky. There’s plenty of time for things to get worse (and they probably will) but there’s also plenty of time for things to get better (which remains to be seen). The GOP needs the right messaging to capitalize on the Biden Bust and make a case for change. Like the Contract for America and the Tea Party movement of years past, the GOP has great potential to regain power in epic fashion in 2022… as long as they don’t screw it up.